“Powdery shades of blues, greys, whites stretch across a softly glowing sky. Moss drips from the river-fed trees hovering over the calm waters. Squirrels, geese, vultures, crickets and cicadas declare the day’s end and the arrival of the night. Families stroll with no hurry to destination, for, it’s summer. Conversations, laughter, gracious touches. The hustle dies. The stress is put away–forgotten for a few months. Now we really see those sunsets. We slow to enjoy the watermelon-drenched chins and the gentle descent of the sunlight. It’s a warming of body, mind and spirit.”
I had to pause to sense that all. I needed to get away to see it, feel it, smell it, experience it. I love life with my people. That handsome man of mine and our beautiful children. But just over a year ago, I learned something about myself. In order for me to recharge, a few hours alone here and there wasn’t going to cut it. It took me nearly that entire time just to stop thinking about everything I needed to get done. To leave home behind. So we decided I’d take fewer but longer trips away. By myself. To sleep, read, write, rest, be quiet. Do whatever I needed to do to come back and love my tribe well.
There’s this new term of “self-care” going around. I haven’t read a lot about it, but it seems to be this idea of caring for oneself well so we can care for others. I’m totally on board with that. I see the importance of taking care of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Not neglecting it as we care for those around us. My breaks are really that in essence. But I also feel this idea of “self-care” is being used in a way to justify indulgence. I “deserve” a massage, pedicure, shopping spree, vacation….I “need” this to be the best mom/friend/wife/employee. And that’s where I’d totally disagree. A dear friend of mine pointed out how much Jesus gave and gave and gave. We know through the Bible that He did take the time to rest and be restored. But Jesus recharged by drawing away and spending time with His Father.
If you are burnt out. If you are weary. If you are overwhelmed with life, the most fulfilling thing you can do is be in the presence of your Almighty Creator. Read His word. Be with His people. Pray. Meditate on truth. Take your focus back to the eternal. He alone can give you living water. He alone can satisfy your weary soul. Maybe you need to get away to do that, in some form or fashion. And if there happens to be an opportunity to save up and get your nails done, praise God for that. But remember, He, Himself, is more than enough. More than enough.
All that said, I thought I’d take you on a little walk through what my breaks look like. These times away are precious to me. Your restoration might not look like mine. But I’d encourage you to discover what best refreshes you.
I wanted to be immersed in nature. Art at its most glorious. This was the view from my balcony. We had a free hotel stay, and I was so thankful to use it. The trees, the water, the blue skies and white clouds, birds singing.
A place to read and write. I prepared my lesson for Sunday, journaled, continued reading in a couple of books, and walked through a devotional study here.
I watched every minute of that sunset. Just me and a park bench. I read and wrote a little, but I mostly just watched and listened. Ducks, geese, cicadas, crickets, deer, children, live music.
Candles. Smells really impact my time. I purchased some soy candles with essential oils and enjoyed the feeling of home away from home.
Order. My days feel chaotic most of the time. I slowed to unpack, even though I was only staying a night. I hung up clothing, set out my shoes, put away my other items in drawers.
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Rather than sleeping in, I set my alarm for before the sunrise. Even though it was cloudy, I was up to witness it. I found a small diner in town that was cheap and delicious. I greatly enjoyed the conversations I had with the owner and my waitress. For lunch, I found a cozy Italian deli that was bright and inviting and had a view to the outside patio area. I ate slowly and enjoyed every bite.
I wrapped up my time journaling to my kids while drinking a rich and steamy cup of coffee. It was all pretty perfect, actually. God paved the way, and my husband helped it happen.
I didn’t “need” any of this. God has been so faithful to help me thrive right smack in the middle of crazy and hard and mundane. But I sure will praise Him for providing it. And I hope I look more like Him as a result of soaking up His creation, His people, and His presence.